Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Cake Pops

Are you scared, because that is one scary cake pop.

Okay so we finally have something to celebrate.  And by celebrate, I mean sit down and sigh and not move for like a year.  We finally got our car sorted out, and by that I mean we got a used car.  And it is not bad, it just isn't a van.  I am thanking my lucky stars we are going to be okay, so if it's not a van, I can deal.  Secondly, Pork Chops birthday is over, and by over I mean his party.  His birthday was actually yesterday, so Happy Birthday Pork Chop!!!  I cannot believe someone as hot and young as I am has an 8 year old.  Did I ever tell you how humble I am?  Well I am really, just ask Hubby.

Another blogger called this candy apple style, and I think that make perfect sense, so that is how we can call it now.

  So all that to say that life is sort of back to normal.  Well normal for us.  And that is great.  I don't think this year can end fast enough.  There have been some horrible times, but also some really great ones.  So I am focusing on the good times, it's what keeps me sane.

  So in all our craziness I didn't get to make any actual Halloween treats.  Which sucks, because I had plans people.  Like real honest to goodness Halloween treat plans.  And they never happened.  And this treat right here, well it was just an extra add on from Pork Chops party.

  I shared with you the marshmallows I made for his party, and I promise to share the rest soon.  But for now I want to share my one and only holiday theme treat.  Which is really just a spin off of the cake pops I did for his party.

I swear they were so cheap, and they are like a million a pack in the store.

  So I had to make pops for his party, and some for work ( because they have not gotten hardly any treats this month and I think some of them may be wasting away to nothing) and these ones that are holiday themed.  They are going to do double duty, they are for his hockey team to celebrate his birthday and Halloween.  So see right there I saved myself from having to make two treats.  I am smart.

See so simple!
   So basically I had hubby bake me four cakes.  I even let him use my new mixer.  He complained, said it was alright, said it was noisy.  But you know he loved it.  Then I got to work.  I did the usual, crumbled up all the cake, added enough frosting to get it to stick together, then I shaped the pops.  I really liked how large the pops I made last time were, so I used my cake pop mold from My Little Cake pop.  It is perfect, and no rolling.  So I did that, and I ended up with over 100 cake pops.  Now that was perfect I needed 20 for his team, and at least 60 for his party.  And then the rest for a friend of my sister and then my work friends.

  So once they were shaped I put them in the freezer as I was doing this all in one day.  And yes I was up super late and cranky when I was all done.  I melted my orange candy melts, and I finally have it figured out. Sort of.  I put my microwave on 40% and then melt it for 30 seconds at a time.  And I mix it up really well once I have done that about 3 times.  That way I get the melts nice and smooth.  I usually still add a little paraffin crystals to thin it out.  But seriously this sort of works.  And well, I don't hate it as much as I used to.  I don't love it, but at least I don't want to punch a kitten when I work with them.  ( and no I would not actually punch a kitten, I have Hubby to punch)

I have no idea why I put the plain ones in front, don't even try to figure it out, I give up trying to understand myself.

  And once I had finished dipping all the cake pops for Pork Chops party I had run out, so I just ended up melting more white candy melts and adding green candy colouring.  It was all good.

  So I dipped all the cake pops, these ones I just did the lazy way by placing them on parchment paper, stick up and let them dry.  If they cracked I dipped them again and then I just decorated them.  I got these Halloween decorations last year.  They are just sugar and really cannot go bad.  I got them for like $25 cents a pack at a warehouse.  I have seen them for up to $8 a pack in store, and even more.  So I just put a dab of melted candy melts on the dry pop and stuck a decoration on.  Then I bagged and tied them up.  That was it.

  Now if I was really crafty, or if I had time I would have made cute tags, but as it was, I was lucky to make these.  Hubby and Pork Chop had to hand them out at practice, as it was a 6am practice and there was no way I was getting up for that.  I love him, but not enough to get up that early.

And here is Pork Chop, he is so cute, and he loves hockey. He is the one in the yellow in the middle. I thin k this is called a face off.

  So there you go, the worlds longest post ever, just to show you how to stick a decoration on a cake pop.  Your welcome.  And happy Halloween, I have a few more posts from Pork Chops party, so I will share those soon.

  And I hope everyone is being safe as possible in this weather, it is not nice and I worry about everyone.
The DIY Dreamer
Our Delightful Home

Grab a Bloom Button
The Mandatory Mooch

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Great Way To Help Your Community, and Others Too! With Aviva.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aviva Community Fund for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

  I was asked to write about a great contest that is going on. And I was all "contest?  I never win those and they are all for those lucky US readers!" But I was wrong.  What?  There is a first time for everything.  So The nice thing about it is that it is a Canadian contest, so I can actually see and even follow this contest to see what comes of it. Aviva Community Fund The Aviva Community Fund Charity Contest. It's amazing the passion of these people, you have to take a look.

  The goal of the contest is to make a difference by helping people, who are pasionate about helpng others, and get them to make positive changes in their communities.  This is so important to me.  As a parent I really want Pork Chop to learn to help others.  I will always remember the golden rule "Due unto others as you would have done unto you."  And I hope that Hubby and I have shown him how we need to think of others.  We did get the chance to do a little good as a family when we held a baking class for charity.  And I really wish we could do more.  And in reading about all the things people have entered for, it really would be hard to choose just one. 

  What is important to me is family, and there are many great causes out there.  I think that any cause that helps promote family and supports them in any way is something I can stand behind.  Weather it be a cause to help build a long term care home to keep families closer together.  Or to make hospitals more comfortable for loved ones, there are so many great things that people are doing.  And I can help them just with a vote.

 You can vote two ways.  You have to be Canadian and you can either go to the Aviva site and register.  Or you can Like Aviva on FaceBook.Like Aviva Community Fund  Its that easy.  

 You are able to vote during all the qualifying rounds and the semi final rounds.  And you can vote up to 15 times during each round, and then again 15 more times during the semi finals.  So if there are a few causes there that you think you want to support you can, and I love that, there are too many great causes to just choose one.

 You can also follow the contest on Follow @Aviva Twitter.  Which I really need to figure out.  I hear Hubby all the time going on about it, so if you are smarter than me, you can totally follow them.

  So if you have a few minutes go take a look and vote.  It will cost you nothing, but it will allow you to help support some great things going on in your own community.  I have some more reading to do, I only have 15 votes people!  I have to make them count!.


Aviva 2


Aviva 1


Visit Sponsor's Site

Perry the Platypus Marshmallows

This is supposed to be a platypus treat, so just pretend you see it OK?

 So I am finally starting to get stuff together for Pork Chops party, which is happening soon.  I usually have stuff done by now, but due to how things have been, well I am way behind.  So that meant I had to cut some things.  Like I was going to make and decorate sugar cookies, and have a craft and all this stuff.  But since I have very little time, we will do what we can.

  Also Pork Chop had his dental surgery yesterday.  It was awful.  He is at home with Hubby today being a baby on the sofa, eating crackers and drinking water.  He was so upset yesterday he actually just wanted to hold my hand while he was laying in bed with us.  I hate seeing him sad, but it had to be done.  So now on to more happy things. Like deformed platypus treats!
This is how I do my pans for marshmallows, this time I used cooking spray and lots of icing sugar.  

  Pork Chop originally wanted a Lego Ninjago party.  Which I was okay with, until I looked and couldn't find any themed party stuff for it.  Now I don't go crazy, but I like to have some napkins and a few things so that the theme ties together.  So I looked on line and found Agent P stuff.  You know from Phineas and Ferb?  Well I talked him into it, and he said fine as long as I made Lego man chocolates, I said fine and that is how I got my way.  Sort of.

See how little icing sugar is on the table?  Well I wiped it off before I took a picture, so  at least I am learning something.

  So we looked in the local party city and they did not have the stuff, and the staff just gave me the "I don't know?"  When I asked if they were going to get it, or if they knew of another store having it.  So I just figured we would go to the states.  But then the car issue happened and we had to cut out some things we had planned to do.

  Anyway I had planned just to do the colours and maybe tie it together with some printed pictures and printed cupcakes.  But the day we headed to get the colourful stuff at the store, they had the party theme we wanted.  It was a sign, after a few crummy weeks, that at least we could do this for Pork Chop.

As usual my pictures are crappy, but this is nice and orange, you will have to take my word for it.

So I don't do loot bags, usually you get a bag full of tiny little toys that you lose or break and they cost a good amount.  So I do treats, usually a cake pop and something else.

  This first treat is one of those.  I decided to make Perry the Platypus marshmallows.  Now they would not look like him really, but you know, it would work.

  To start I made 4 batches of home made marshmallows, I have the larger mixer so I did two double batches.  I followed the same recipe I have used before, the only difference was I also added a few drops of orange food colouring paste.  I added it to the gelatin water mixture. I figure orange is a good colour for not only Halloween, but it works for the theme. I ended up needing to add lots.  So I went with it.  Now I also made some treats for the dentist, but I will share those later.

Here they are all cut out, you can kind of see how orange they are.
  So the day after making the marshmallows I cut them out using a large square cookie cutter, I use lots of icing sugar to help keep them from sticking.  Then I melted the blue candy melts I had, I added some paraffin crystals too.  It was not a  true Perry colour, but close enough.

  Then I took a large lolli pop stick and dipped it in the chocolate and then pushed it 3/4 of the way into the marshmallow.  I held it until the candy set a bit, as the spongy marshmallows will push the sticks out.

So this is how they looked after I dipped them.  And you all know how I hate working with coloured chocolate.  So I thought it was not bad all considered.
  Then I dipped the whole marshmallow, making sure it was all covered and tapped off the extra.  I stood them in my cake pop stands as I wanted them to be even all over.

  Once that was done I went back and dabbed on two dots of candy and put on candy eye balls. I wanted to do his beak, or whatever you call his mouth, but there is no way I was going to even try to do that.  So I left them as is, bagged them up and I had one treat done!

Now I forgot to actually count out the eye balls, so I ran out,but I had plenty, just not enough to do all the extra ones I wanted to.

  This took me forever since there were a lot and I was tired.  And then I showed Pork Chop and I was all "how do you like your Perry's?"  And he was all "where is the mouth?"  And I was all "I don't know how to do one, so this is it"  He said he would do it, I said no.  And I am ashamed to admit it, but I was PMSing but I had to fight not to cry.  Seriously.  I was so upset, not at him, he is a kid, he doesn't get it, but I wanted them to be perfect for him, and they weren't really.
See not too bad.  And yes I know there is no way to know it 's a platypus, you have to use your imagination.
  I got over it though as it took me like 4 hours to do them all and I was just done.  I also started making his chocolate Lego men, so that will be at least one thing he cannot complain about.  Right?
Even the marshmallows are made at me for not giving them mouths.  I cannot win.  Even my treats judge me!

So next up are the chocolate covered pretzels, cake pops, cupcakes and of course more chocolate Lego men.
The Mandatory Mooch

The DIY Dreamer
HookingupwithHoH TidyMom
Skip To My Lou

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tapioca Pudding Or How I Failed at Pudding

  I wrote this post a few weeks back, before all the car stuff and what not. I have not had time to really bake or do much other than car shop, and try to get some stuff around the house done.  But we are almost done with it, and we are getting right into Pork Chops birthday bonanza!  I was thinking about cancelling the party,  but the place had been paid for and we were not going to spend much.  So we are going to forge ahead and hope that when he is 30 and rich he will finally buy me that pony I have always wanted.  Or give me a million, either way right?

This is the best picture of the post, be fore warned.
So I have to say that already being in a  low mood, this is not helping.  I think this fail is so sad. And it's not my first fail lately.  Seriously, after those cream cheese wedding mints, and then the wedding cake pops where I had to toss out like 10 pounds of white chocolate I screwed up.  ( Okay really more like 5 pounds, but still that is a lot)  And then this, my most favorite pudding ever!

  I say I screwed it up because it turned out to be really gross.  As in so gross I tossed it all out.  I mean I tried to eat it, I really did.  Like I ate a big bowl the night I made it.  Then after it set in the fridge over night, I tried but I couldn't.  It was gloopy and gross.  So I will totally forgive you if you never want to try anything I make ever again.  But you should, I mean come on, I make cake balls with booze, I have a few free passes for these mistakes right?
Okay I will apologize right now for this comment.  I am sorry.  But "look how big my balls are!"  I know, I  cannot help myself.
  So I will share with you how I made this, and how I think I screwed up.  I will also have some action shots, because I was all "Hubby, take pictures of me doing this!"  And he was all, "you get the messy kitchen in the background."  And I totally took that as him telling me I have a messy house, and I almost threw hot milk on him.  Then I figured he lives here too, so he is really calling himself messy.  And I felt a bit better.
This is milk, in a pot.  That is all.
  So the whole reason I wanted to make this was Pork Chop and I were in a different fancy store, I wanted some Greek yogurt.  And this store is one of the only ones that sells the kind I like.  So as with any store I had to check out the baking isle.  It was not huge but it had a few neat things.  One of them was jumbo tapioca ball thingies. ( I know my knowledge of baking terms is amazing, your welcome.)

This is the mixture after heating for a bit, it got really thick as those tapioca balls are starchy. 
 And I got visions of myself having a huge bowl of tapioca pudding with tapioca balls like the size of the ones you get in bubble tea.  I was so excited!  So I splurged and bough the whole milk it required and got ready to make pudding.

This is the beginning of the end.  It was all down hill from here.

 I think "get ready to make pudding" should be my new code phrase for when I was to "cuddle" with Hubby.  But then again, that kind of sounds gross, so never mind.  Sorry, now that is in your head and you won't be able to look at pudding the same way again will you.


  So if you can get past that lets make some pudding, and by pudding I mean pudding.  I thought you guys were over that other thing already.

  So to make tapioca pudding you actually have to be smart and do some prep work.  And by prep work I mean you have to soak your balls in water.  (That's what she said!)  Your tapioca balls, jeez people, one pudding comment and you are all in the gutter.

  So you you do this 3-4 hours before you are ready to use them.  The tapioca was white, I don't think I have ever seen raw tapioca before.  But when cooked it was almost sort of see through.  So you measure your tapioca and then cover it in water, I have no idea how much, I filled the bowl and put about 1 inch of water over it.  Then I added a bit more as it soaked.

Tapioca Pudding
Recipe on the Wasco brand tapioca pearl bag

-1/2 cup tapioca pearls
-3 cups whole milk
-1/4 TSP salt
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 TSP vanilla

Soak the pearls in water for 3-4 hours.  Drain the pearls and mix them with the milk and salt in a sauce pan.  Stir on high heat until it boils.  Simmer for 5 minutes on super low, and then slowly mix in the sugar.  Beat the eggs in a bowl and then temper them by whisking in some of the hot milk, and then once tempered return it all to the pot.  Put the pot back over low heat and stir constantly for about 3 minutes, you can cook it longer if you want a thicker pudding.  Cool for 15 minutes then add the vanilla. You can eat it warm, which was not too bad.  Or chill it, which was just gross, so there you go.
What is with my bony looking hands?  Why does my butt have enough padding for a king size bed, but my hands, they look weird.

So here I am tempering the egg yolks.  That means you slowly add your hot mixture to your room temp eggs and start whisking like you have never whisked before.  And you tell your Hubby to stop getting you big gut in the picture.

So you whisk.

And you whisk.

And then you add it all back into the pot.  Because by this time the eggs are not going to curdle and turn into scrambled eggs.

And then you scrap out the bowl.

And then you are going to cook it a few minutes longer.

Then you are left with this, and you sort of want to cry, but you don't because you bought special milk and stuff and you don't want Hubby to be all "you wasted all that milk"  Even though you know he would never say that, or you would make him eat it,  he knows better.
Sigh, so many things went wrong, but at least it was not a total waste.   I got a blog post out of it right? Skip To My Lou

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Made A Hat, The Last of My Steam Punk Costume

  So I am very proud of myself.  I made a hat.  All by myself.  Well okay I didn't actually make one, so much as alter one. And trust me I wanted to make one, but looking on line there were lots of ways to make one.  And they all seemed really complicated.  And after the issues I had with making my spats, I was not going to have any of it.  So I just decided to alter a hat.
 Just to give you an idea, this is for my steam punk costume.  Here is my last post about my costume.
This is the hat I started with, I got it at party city.  I forgot to take a picture so took this one off their site.  Imagine that is me, she is almost as hot as me.

  I first had bought these little plastic hats at the dollar store.  But they were flimsy and I wanted to have the hat on clips so it would stay in my hair.  So as soon as the party store started bringing out their Halloween things I grabbed the cheapest mini hat I could.  Now cheap it was not, I paid almost $15 for this sucker.  And I sort of kick myself, but at the same time, I knew it was the only way without actually having to try and make one.  And that would have ended up costing me more I bet.  So I got it.  I also went to Micheal's and got a feather patch thingy, you know like the ones that were all the rage on head bands for a while?  Well I got that in a nice brown colour and I was all set.

I thought I took a better picture but obviously not, so here is my hat, from the side.  I love it!

  I really only had one shot at this as I was almost out of fabric for my costume.  I had actually ruined a good deal of it trying to make Hubby a vest.  I failed miserably at it.  Could have something to do with the fact I did most of it while watching TV, but who really can say, right?

  So to start I had to cut off the crappy flower and netting that was on the hat already.  And it was hot glued to that sucker good.  I was so nervous that I was going to rip the hat.  It was only thick cardboard from what I could tell.  So I got that off then I had to think about how to put the fabric on.  I didn't want a plain smooth hat, I wanted it to look more rich.  Not sure how to explain what I wanted, but I got it.  So it's all good.

This is just a bunch of watch parts and a few Tim Holtz gears.

  To start I cut out a huge circle of fabric, one that would be big enough to cover the whole hat.  Then I took some hot glue and glued the top of the hat to the middle of that circle.  I found that the hot glue really was not sticking that great, so I had to get some fabric glue.  And that worked like a charm.  Once the fabric was set I started to pull the fabric down to have it pleat how I liked and I pushed long sewing pins through the fabric and the hat all around the hat, where the hat band would cover.  I had bent each pin, which was really thick so that it would not come back out.  Then I glued the fabric down over the top of the brim, all the way around using cloths pegs to hold it to dry.

I am mad at myself for not being neater with the glue as you can see it a bit on the brim, but what can you do, I won't see it when I am wearing it, so that is all that really matters right?

  Once that was dry I started gluing the fabric down over the brim, to cover the bottom.  Again I used glue and cloths pegs to hold it all together while it dried.  After it dried I went back and glued down any bits that had not been secured.  Then I took a thick ribbon I had bought before to use on the costume and glued that around the hat, holding it with another thick pin.

  Once that was dry, I used some more fabric glue and painted it around the pins, on the inside of the hat.  This way they would be stable, then I took my jewelry cutters and cut the pins so they were still holding the hat and fabric, but they were now not long and did not pose any stabbing issues.

  So once I did that I glued on the feather bunch over the ribbon where the ribbon seam was.  Looking back I should have sewed it on a bit too.  More on that later.  So I did that and then set to work making a charm to go on the hat.

  I have this bag of old watch parts so I just started with a big watch face and added some of the large Tim Holtz gears I had, then I just kept gluing parts on, I was trying to get some height out of it.  So I did that and left it so set.

These are the clips that came on the hat, so I hope it holds, I  may need a liter of hair spray, or something.
  Once it was set I glued it onto the hat.  And I was thrilled.  So I showed Pork Chop who wanted to try it on, and I let him, so I could take a picture for Facebook.  Then he dropped it and the watch parts almost fell off.  So I ended up adding lots more glue.  Then I went back and sewed a few stitches through the feathers and the watch parts to make it more sturdy.

  Over all I love it, I just don't know how to wear it, my hair is kind of short, so I have to think of a way to wedge it on my head some how, I just think it is the cutest hat ever.

  So there you go, and I promise to share pictures from Halloween, we will see how it all goes.

I'll be like a little mad hatter, just cooler.